Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Sara Groves

9 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

I just posted some of this on my blog, but I'm curious to get the thoughts of others.

My wife and I saw Sara Groves in concert on Saturday. She was truly marvelous - alternating between hilarious, touching, prophetic anectodes and lovely, humourous, and ultimately worshipful songs. She was accompanied by her husband on percussion and their bass player for most of the show, but also played a short set of songs by herself, just voice and piano.

I've really enjoyed her records - they're a great blend of deep, well-written songs that are personal and quirky, along with a couple radio-friendly songs each that are still well-written and engaging. I

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Yes, I love Sara Groves. She got her start touring with Michael Card, and credits him for helping her make sense of some of the 'ccm' thing, and what is expected of her. I tour with Michael (as a part of the tech crew), and one statement he makes often that Sara frequently quotes is "You are not your gift".

The reason that I'm really looking forward to her new album "Add to the Beauty" is because of the producer. Charlie Peacock produced most of the songs on her last album, and while I have great respect for him as a songwriter and producer, I don't think his style fits well with Sara's lyrics, or what I've come to expect from her musically. Her new album was produced by Brown Bannister. I was doing some work on a project for Brown a couple weeks ago, and noticed a rough mix CD sitting in the control room for Sara's project. The song that I'm looking forward to hearing is "Rewrite This Tragedy". Brown said they tried to go for more of the feel from "Conversations". He also told me which musicians they used on it. He said Sara wanted most of the same people that played on "All Right Here", which is my favorite project of hers.

Here is a comment Sara made about this project in an interview with Grassroots music:

"Candidly truthful and compassionately hopeful, Add to the Beauty echoes Sara’s first release in its’ intimate and honest lyrical journey. “When we started Add to the Beauty, we set out to take beautiful pictures of the songs, to recapture the straight forward feel of Conversations, and couldn’t have found a better song photographer than Brown Bannister,” recalls Sara. “It has been a surreal and wonderful experience to work with the man who helped bring Age to Age to my living room over 20 years ago.”

I'm sure it will be good! Now I just hope that it does well commercially. Sara has said that if this doesn't sell enough to support them, it will probably be her last label album. I hope not!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Charlie Peacock, Brown Bannister, and that guy who produced Ginny Owens' second album -- oh, what's his name? Monroe Jones, I think -- ... why are there three people who produce album after album after album in the CCM world? Isn't that part of the problem with CCM? There's a reason it all starts to sound alike.

Having said that, I'm a huge fan of Groves' All Right Here, and CT ranked her last album, which I've not heard, as the best of 2004.

I did get to see Groves on tour recently, in support of that album, and although I couldn't have asked for a better lineup of CCM artists -- Groves, Bebo Norman, and Fernando Ortega, who represent the cream of the crop in the CCM world -- I found the concert a little underwhelming. None of them sings the kind of songs that get a crowd on its feet, but I've been to several shows by like-minded artists, most of which were more engaging than the Groves-Norman-Ortega show.

I guess Groves, who opened the show, was the main disappointment. Her performance was impeccable, and I thought the newer songs were lovely, but there wasn't much energy to the performance. Her anecdotes between songs went on a little too long, with repeated references to her kids. I don't mind such ramblings when I know the artist has an entire evening to perform, but when you're relegated to a 45-minute set, a little more music and a little less talk are appreciated.

I'd seen Bebo before, and he was pretty good, but Ortega stole the show. That guy is very witty, and his new songs are downright daring in their seemingly total lack of "JPM"s: "Jesus Per Minute" references. He sang a song about a dragonfly (backed by a slithering, infectious bass line) and another about a coyote, or maybe it was a dog. That the guy grasps the wonders of God's creation without overtly pointing to the Creator seems positively countercultural, when the culture of which we're speaking is the CCM culture. 'Course, I don't think his latest album is selling all that well. Shame.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I saw Sara on the first night of that last tour, and I agree, it was pretty good, but not what it could have been. The tour I'm looking forward to now is her next tour with Jars of Clay, Chris Rice, and Don Miller (Author of Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What).

About producers, while those three do produce a lot, I think they shine on certain albums. The only thing I like that Charlie has produced recently is his best of album, "Full Circle". But I think that Brown is one of the better producers out there. While he does do a lot of things that sound the same, I like quite a few of his projects. He produced the new MercyMe Christmas project that’s coming out, and is getting ready to produce a regular album with them. They have just worked with Pete Kipley so far, and I've never really liked his work. Brown is also producing Third Day's new album, so I'm curious to see how it turns out. I did some work on the new Point of Grace Christmas CD that Brown co-produced with Carl Marsh (the main arranger/orchestrater) and there are quite a few songs on it that are not 'same-old'.

About Monroe Jones, while it's easy for him to produce things that sound the same as everybody else, he also has his stand out albums. The first one I can think of is Chris Rice's "Smell the Color Nine". More recently, he produced Holly Williams' "The Ones We Never Knew", which I think is a masterpiece. And just this week the new Chris Rice CD, "Amusing", hit the streets. It is Chris' first CD with Eb+Flo, that he co-founded with Monroe and Ken Lewis (a drummer). It has some great moments on it. It shows what Monroe can do without having to give a label something that sounds like everything else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

The reason that I'm really looking forward to her new album "Add to the Beauty" is because of the producer.  Charlie Peacock produced most of the songs on her last album, and while I have great respect for him as a songwriter and producer, I don't think his style fits well with Sara's lyrics, or what I've come to expect from her musically.  Her new album was produced by Brown Bannister.  I was doing some work on a project for Brown a couple weeks ago, and noticed a rough mix CD sitting in the control room for Sara's project.  The song that I'm looking forward to hearing is "Rewrite This Tragedy".  Brown said they tried to go for more of the feel from "Conversations".  He also told me which musicians they used on it.  He said Sara wanted most of the same people that played on "All Right Here", which is my favorite project of hers.

I'm glad you brought that up. My favorite record is also "All Right Here", which was the first I was introduced to. One of the reasons I like it so well is the production sensibilities, which was due to Nate Sabin acting as her producer. I agree, I like the Charlie Peacock stuff on her last album ("The Other Side of Something") a bit less.

I really do like Sabin's touches as her producer; his blend of roots rock, well-thought-out pop and subtle electronics really suit my tastes.

I'm sure it will be good!  Now I just hope that it does well commercially.  Sara has said that if this doesn't sell enough to support them, it will probably be her last label album.  I hope not!

Wow, I really do hope that the record does sell well, then. I would hate to think that it might be her last record.

peace,

bvl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I have a tiny crush on Sara Groves. Even despite Charlie Peacock's fingerprints I liked Other Side quite a bit, and while I also would prefer she just stuck to Nate Sabin (he's a really excellent, underrated producer) I'm just glad Peacock's out of the picture. This gets released the same time as the new Sigur Ros, so I'll get some confused looks from the record store people. Totally stoked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Sara Groves performed at the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast! Her song starts at the 8:30 mark.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

LOL, not one of those politicians knew the words to "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Well, a couple were singing. And of course, Andy Crouch was sitting right next to Sara, nodding along in time with a big grin on his face.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0